Parenting teenagers is sometimes difficult for South Carolina parents because adolescence brings with it physical and hormonal changes that could affect mood and behavior. Adding a divorce to this mix has the potential to make things even more volatile if parents no longer living together don’t make an effort to avoid co-parenting mistakes.
One common co-parenting mistake with teens that divorcing parents sometimes make is failing to share information with each other. There’s sometimes an assumption that a teen will tell each parent what’s going on with them or exhibit the same behavior around each parent. Failing to communicate often leaves one or both parents in the dark. It’s also not advised for co-parents to get into the habit of passing messages through their teen. Doing so sometimes results in messages either being delivered incorrectly or not at all.
A lack of coordination between divorced parents can also give a teen too much power, especially if they take advantage of this situation when they learn to drive and gain more independence. A lack of flexibility with a co-parenting schedule can create conflicts with everyone involved, even more so if teens have after-school jobs and other obligations requiring some degree of flexibility with schedules. Co-parenting a teen can also be more challenging than it has to be if parents make assumptions, like assuming the other parent has already met a teen’s friends, or offer conflicting or inconsistent guidance.
A family law attorney may be able to make post-divorce parenting less stressful by negotiating a sensible co-parenting plan that allows for some degree of flexibility as a teen gets older and assumes more responsibilities. However, if former spouses are unable to co-parent effectively, a court sometimes orders them to take parenting classes. A lawyer might also request appropriate custody arrangement adjustments if circumstances change over time.